CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -
A report reviewed by WBTV shows problems at Union County DSS go deeper than the current child abuse charges against a fired supervisor.
Investigators said Wanda Sue Larson, and her partner Dorian Harper, chained an 11-year-old boy outside with a dead chicken around his neck. Now we’ve learned an audit from almost three years ago showed Union County DSS mishandled seven out of ten randomly chosen cases.
In November 2013, Union County officials asked the state to review all the cases Wanda Sue Larson handled in her ten year career as a child protective supervisor.
But Union County Commissioners said they were not aware that a 2011 report done by the North Carolina Department of Health and Social Services showed that out of 10 cases reviewed by the state only 3 conformed to the state’s standards as being handled properly. One family waited six days for a DSS worker to investigate a serious child abuse complaint.
A reporter with the Associated Press, Mitch Weiss requested the 2011 report from the state. He said in February 2011 Union County had 45 days to put together a plan to explain how DSS would address the problems highlighted in the report.
“Union County put together a plan but they didn’t implement the entire plan,” said Weiss, “So three years later you still had some of these outstanding issues.”
Commissioner Jonathan Thomas said the county is managing the problem.
“How do we fix that? Its going to be the responsibility of the county commissioners from this point forward to make sure we look and see what reports were available to us that we never got and couldn’t have gotten under the previous structure,” said Thomas, “And that we hold staff accountable to make sure we are moving forward. That’s the only way to fix this mess.”
State report detailed problems with Union County DSS in 2011
MONROE After a Union County child welfare supervisor was charged with handcuffing a boy she had guardianship over to a porch with a dead chicken tied to his neck, county officials sought help reviewing cases handled by her – and the rest of her department.
They asked the state Division of Social Services to review not only Wanda Sue Larson’s cases but how Union County Department of Social Services deals with all child-welfare cases – adoptions, foster care and child protection.
But what some county officials didn’t know was that the state had already found problems with the agency nearly three years earlier as part of a routine review.